Struggles for Equality

Indian Constitution recognises all Indians as equal before the law and states that no person can be discriminated against because of their religion, sex, caste or whether they are rich or poor. There is a long list of people’s struggles in history. Equality does not extend to all people’s lives in our country. While old struggles continue, new struggles have emerged as people are facing new challenges due to urbanisation and industrialization. In a democracy, there are always communities and individuals trying to push the idea of democracy and push for a greater recognition of equality. People initiate struggles to gain equal rights, treatment and respect with others. Marginalised sections wage struggles to get them heard and put forward their demands. Mass movements or struggles mean to put pressure on the government to redress their issues.

Soliga is a tribe that lives in Biligiriranga Hills in southeastern Karnataka. Soliga means ‘people of the bamboo’, a name based on their belief that their ancestors originated from the bamboo. The area called Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary has been given a Tiger Reserve Status by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The rights of the Soligas to access forest resources have been hurt. Therefore, they protest with green scarves tied across their face. Another case is of the beedi workers, who are getting the lowest wages in the country. The struggle of beedi workers is to demand wages as per Minimum Wages Act. They also demand health facilities. The struggle of the Tawa Matsya Sangh is another famous case where people came together for a cause. Indian Constitution is a ‘living document’, as amendments are continuously being made to keep the Constitution in pace with changing society. Constitution provides framework for government to do certain positive things, to express the aspirations and goals of society.

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